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Associated Press, Published April 05 2010

Thousands without power in North Dakota days after storm

BISMARCK – Thousands of North Dakota residents were without power Sunday after a storm brought down miles of transmission lines, and utility officials say it could be a week or more before service is restored.

State officials estimated 8,400 customers lost power at some point during the storm that buffeted the region Thursday and Friday.

Some utilities continue to work to repair lines and poles.

The Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, which serves Morton, Grant and Sioux counties, estimated it still had 2,000 customers without power. Additional repair crews were expected to arrive today, but the utility said it could be a week or longer before all service is restored.

Bismarck-based Capital Electric Cooperative lost 300 to 400 power poles in the storm. The utility said 600 customers could be without power for up to two weeks.

BEK Communications in Steele reported critical damage to its telephone transmission lines, particularly in Burleigh and McLean counties. Some customers could be without service for more than a week.

Some utilities, such as Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, were able to restore service.

The governor activated the National Guard to help repair lines. When the storm hit, many of the affected utilities were making repairs from a late-January icing that knocked out power to more than 20,000 people in the Dakotas.

The Bismarck and Mandan areas in North Dakota received about 8 inches of snow during the storm, according to the National Weather Service. More fell in parts of South Dakota, where Lawrence County got 15 to 19 inches of snow.

Much of the region is expected to get temperatures in the 50s this week, according to the weather service.

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